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My ADHD Acceptance Speech

Like much of America, I watched part of the Oscars last night. C’mon, I have ADHD, did you really expect me to make it through that whole thing?

Sometimes when you watch tearful acceptance speech after tearful acceptance speech, you start to imagine yourself up there, receiving Hollywood’s biggest honor. It’s true that my odds of getting an Academy Award are vanishingly slim, given that I have absolutely no involvement in the film industry.

OscarBut then it occurred to me that I could give an acceptance speech for something I already have: ADHD!

Now, admittedly having ADHD isn’t exactly the same as having an Oscar. In one case you’re given a shiny golden statue and in the other you given a lifelong mental health condition. Still, there are some similarities between the two, such as the relatively small odds of getting either one (OK, the odds of getting an Oscar are a little smaller) and the unpredictable nature of the nomination process.

So what would my ADHD acceptance speech look like?

Well, naturally it would start the way every Oscar speech starts. I’d like to thank my parents…

After all, ADHD has a large genetic component, with one massive study estimating the heritability at 72 percent in adults. So if it weren’t for my parents, I probably wouldn’t have ADHD.

Many Oscar speeches humbly thank “all the people I’m forgetting to thank.” I’d take this approach with my own acceptance speech, except since this is an ADHD acceptance speech, I would probably mention all the other things I’m forgetting as well: several items on my to-do list, that thing you told me fifteen minutes ago, the fact that I took the milk out of the fridge this morning and never put it back, my wallet, and probably large portions of my remaining speech as well.

At this point, my time limit is up and they’re trying to play me off the stage, but of course I’m not going to finish on time. This is where I launch into an anecdote about how as a dreamy, nerdy kid I never could’ve imagined I’d achieve this honor.

Since this is an ADHD acceptance speech, my anecdote would probably stress not being able to sit still, being told to try harder, needing to apply myself, lots of potential, etc. etc. I never could’ve imagined that I had ADHD… if only because I didn’t know anything about ADHD, and neither did anyone around me, unfortunately.

Would I cry during my ADHD acceptance speech? I don’t know. But I would definitely conclude by pointing out that having ADHD, like getting an Oscar, is generally a once-in-a-lifetime honor – although unlike a little golden statue, ADHD is quite difficult to misplace.

Image: Flickr/rocor

My ADHD Acceptance Speech

Neil Petersen

Neil Petersen writes regularly on education, learning disabilities and technology. He received his B.A. in 2014 and was diagnosed with ADHD at the beginning of his college studies. Neil also works for a music education non-profit and hopes to help create an education system that can better serve students with ADHD.

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APA Reference
Petersen, N. (2019). My ADHD Acceptance Speech. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 24, 2020, from


Last updated: 25 Feb 2019
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